The Fall of Big Irish

He was Irish by blood and Texan by birth
And his name was well known by all
A soldier, a Ranger, who had seen more than most
A strong man, much too strong to fall

So it came as a shock when they learned of his death
Like a fire on the prairie it spread
The story of just how a tall hero like that
Was now merely one of the dead

It was out in West Texas, in the dust and the wind
That the Irishman met his demise
As the story was told round the campfires that Fall
The cowboys all gasped with surprise

They tell of how Irish was buying a round
In a small saloon down by the border
He kept the boys spellbound as he spun his yarns
Of his fights with chaos and disorder

He told of his battles with rustlers and knaves
And cowards, and crooks of the West
Always came out ahead, he boasted at length
But one cowboy seemed little impressed

After one tale of terror that was hard to believe
The crowd heard a very soft chuckle
It came from the cowboy who stood down the bar
Barely came up to Irish’s buckle

Excuse me there son but I think you should know
Just exactly who I am right here
The cowboy just turned as he glanced up a bit
Then looked back to his beer and he smiled

Now Irish was Irish, and quite quick to anger
A hush then fell over the crowd
A few men stepped back, a few leaned in close
For the cowboy was not speaking loud

“I know who you are Irish. I’ve seen ya before”
Other faces and other names
Almost every saloon has a feller like you
Always talking and playin his games

Now I don’t mind a tall tale now and then
And I‘ve told some myself sure it’s true
But a tale is a tale and a lie is a lie
And I’ve had my fill this day of you

That box canyon fight that you say you were in
When Apaches tried liftin your hair
I was there with my pard from the 8th Cavalry
And I don’t’ recall seein you there

It was hot blood and gunsmoke that day long ago
Not quite as you say, “Great good fun”
We were scared, young, and desperate, my good pard and me
And I buried him when it was done

So you just go on boasting while I stand at the bar
In a while, I’ll have finished my beer
And I’ll give you a fight then if that’s what you want
That is, if you’re still around here

He spoke low and soft and the men in the back
Couldn’t quite hear just what he had said
But the men standing close saw the look in his eyes
And they knew he’d filled Irish with dread

With a small sound Big Irish just turned for the door
And headed out into the night
They knew he was waiting out there in the street
They all knew there’d soon be a fight

The old cowboy finished his beer as he’d said
Left a sizable tip on the bar
Then he walked to the doors and out into the street
They all knew that he wouldn’t get far

Dusty windows were crammed with curious eyes
A few even ventured on out.
“Well Irish?”, said the cowboy, “What’ll it be?”
And he said it low, without a shout.

Everyone held their breath for the time had arrived
But their eagerness was all for naught
One mount was gone and Irish was too
The cowboy said, “That’s what I thought”

And he rode out of town headed west by northwest
No one knew which way Big Irish went
He never came back to that town for sure
His reputation there was all spent

Some said he went east and opened a store
Some said he just took to his bed
No one really quite knew and no one quite cared
To them his foul memory was dead

No he didn’t die out in the dirt street that night
With a smoking six-gun in his hand
His death was a coward’s and he’ll die many more
And he’ll earn no respect as a man

His life was a lie, just an act so it seemed
For you can’t tell a hero by sight
Like, for instance, that old goat who stood at the bar
And finished his beer that night